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Farwell agrees to share bill

The Farwell Village Council changed their minds Monday night and voted 6-1, with Elton Marshall voting no, to pay one-third of the engineering and design costs for the South Road and Village bridge future project.

The Council had voted in January not to pay more than their original agreed amount. After tabling the matter three times and much discussion over a request from the Clare County Road Commission to share the Silver Ridge portion of an engineering study for road and bridge improvements, the Farwell Village Council voted at their regular January meeting to pay only the balance of the original Village share.

Former CCRC Engineer/Manager Steve Stocking had made a request earlier in the fall, asking the Village and Surrey Township to consider sharing Silver Ridge’s portion of the study.

A grant paid $50,000 of the $97,915.15 costs to do a preliminary study on potential improvements to South Road and replacement of the bridge leading to the now closed Silver Ridge facility. The local match, $47,915.15 was to be shared equally by the Village, Surrey Township, Silver Ridge and the Road Commission, a total of $11,728.70 each.

In August, 2008, the Village paid $7,999.25 leaving a balance of $3,729.54 still due. Stocking had asked both the Village and Surrey Township to pay an additional $3,909.93, one-third of the Silver Ridge portion.

At Monday’s meeting CCRC Manager Ron Bushong, who took over after Stocking retired, again went over the invoice and asked the Council to reconsider.

Department of Public Works Supervisor Aaron Moline recommended that the Council approve the additional payment. “I advised against it before because I didn’t find the design work for the bridge in the plans. I missed it and I apologize,” he told the Council.

He said the plans included design work and engineering for a box culvert tube that he had overlooked. “It’s a very good plan,” he said, and includes “99 percent of the work needed for the improvements.”

“This answers the questions of the Council,” said Village President Steve Grim. “We lost one of the partners (in the original agreement) so the cost is now one-third of the local share.” He noted that the costs to the Village would be for work in the Village, when questioned by Council member Barb Roe.

Surrey Township Supervisor Rick Miller was also at the meeting and recommended sharing the portion unpaid by Silver Ridge. He said he would recommend that Surrey Township also pay the additional $3,909.93, one-third of the Silver Ridge share. “We need to do what is right,” he said. “It’s no one’s fault that Silver Ridge defaulted.”

In another matter, the Council unanimously approved a motion to enter into an agreement between the Village, Surrey Township and Farwell Schools to pay one-third of the design and engineering work on the Safe Routes to School project, up to a total of $33,000.

Surrey Township approved the same agreement in March.

$447,000 in Federal funds, under the Michigan Department of Transportation’s “Safe Routes to School” project, were recently awarded to build a sidewalk/walking route on North Road that extends the path inside the Village limits that was completed last year through another grant.

Paving the path along North Road is Phase I in a further goal to pave walkways on three Farwell streets at an estimated cost of $1.2 million, according to a presentation at Surrey Township last May by Jack Hofweber, Development Engineer at the Michigan Department Transportation Service Center in Mt. Pleasant.

The Council’s approval of the agreement came after plans were explained about improvements to the intersection of North Superior and Ohio to meet ADA requirements and replacement of sidewalk from the Rail-Trail to Ellen Street.

Other business at the Village Council meeting included:

*A Public Hearing and subsequent approval for the close out of the Michigan Community Development Block Grant for the Superior Street Improvement Project.

*A presentation by Boy Scout Bryce Osborn who proposed as his Eagle Scout project to repaint the Littlefield pavilion and provide a security camera to prevent further graffiti on the structure. Council members expressed interest in having the building’s interior also repainted.

*Approval to pay a Wade Trim invoice for $5,247.00 on the Water System Improvement project.

*Discussed a request from AT&T for additional space for equipment and a new lease.

*Approved an increase in the water turn-on rate from $10 to $25.

*Approved Main Street closure for parades including the Little League parade, Memorial Day, Lumberjack parade, Labor Day parade and Holiday Lights Festival parade.

*Approved the purchase of a set of bleachers and fence posts and top rail for the horseshoe courts. The fence was donated by Little League.

*Approved the purchase of flag banners for Main Street at a cost of $1,332.00.

*Approved a maintenance contract for the new computers at a cost of $1,500 annually and $500 annually each for webhosting and email.

*Approved the payment of bills totaling $23,011.51.